Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Gawai is a harvest festival by the Sarawak state indigenous people. primarily the Bidayuh and the Ibans. Families gather at their native homes (Kampong) with family.   They celebrate eating their native foods and drinking rice wine.  Sunday,June 1 we went to President Sator kampong.  We went to about 10 different homes in the Kompong.  We sang hymns to the families we visited, shared their food but did not share in partaking of the rice wine.  Drinking alcohol is a big part of the celebration.  A lot of pressure is put on the members when they go home for Gawai.  Elder Reynolds has a beautiful voice and rest of us joined in.  It was a wonderful afternoon and evening.  President Sator kept saying one more home.
Sister Anderson, Sister Fonbuena, Elder Mix,  Elder Reynolds, Sister Boyter.  Below President Sator played and sang for us.
Elder Reynolds, Sister Fonbuena singing a duet.

The traditional cooking area at the back of house.

Elders posing with antique swords and blow pipes ( guns).
Sisters with the swords

The basket handle fits on the head.  You pick your durian fruit and toss into the basket.
We begin our visits to the homes

Elder Boyter found flowers for our hair.

The chief of this Kampong.  President Sator shared with us that the chief must be pagan and cannot be of any religion but the chief's grandson spent some time with me and told me that his grandfather became a Christian about 2 years ago so things are changing.  The grandson also showed me the building where the skulls of their enemies are kept.  A number of years ago an Iban tribe attacked their Kampong.  President Sator said another Bidayuh tribe has also attacked them.  After they killed their enemy they take the skulls and keep them. The skulls protect the kampong.
Long house with traditional bamboo flooring
Men played for us.

We started visiting with this family and were invited to share in refreshments.  Come to find out the older woman was President Sator's mother's best friend.  During Gawai the homes are opened to anyone that comes with refreshments and a meal.

We went down to the river.  Children were playing in it.  It looked very inviting.  Across the river there were garden spots where they raised vegetables.

Replicas of their traditional homes.

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